2013 NHL Draft: State of the Dallas Stars Prospect Pool

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Briefly examining the weaknesses and strengths of the Dallas Stars prospect system and what it can do to address this at the 2013 NHL Draft on the 30th June.

So after another disappointing last minute exit from playoff contention its time once again to turn our eyes to the future. The 2013 NHL Draft is going to be held on the 30th June, all seven rounds in a single day! The Stars currently have 10 picks to use, though whether they will have the same number come draft day is a very different matter.

In order to try and analyse what the Stars could do at the draft its important to look at the state of the current prospect pool and where it is particularly weak or strong.

The Stars prospect pool is stronger than it has been in years, possibly stronger than any point during the franchises time in Dallas. At the trade deadline the acquisition of prospects for Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy has continued to strengthen this pool.

There are areas however that the Stars need to improve upon.

Weaknesses:

Despite the Stars shotgun drafting centres in 2012, Radek Faksa, Devin Shore, Mike Winther and Gemel Smith, the Stars are still weak up the middle prospect wise. Though Radek Faksa has some high expectations placed upon him its unlikely he will ever be more than a good second line centre.

The Stars need those top centres and, as the Stars have found out with their Right Wingers, the more they have the more likely they will find a player who could take a place as a top six centre and look like they belong there permanently.

Expect the Stars to draft a few centres this time round.

Another area of weakness is the left wing, where there is only one potentially top six forward among the Stars prospects, not in the AHL, that being Michigan Wolverines forward Alex Guptill. At best he will see action in the AHL for 2014-2015 season.

Matt Fraser experience so far in the NHL has been a mixed one and for now its still uncertain whether he can become a top six winger in the NHL. Curtis McKenzie has filled in a role in Texas as a bottom six grinder forward and could project to that in the NHL.

The Stars might pick up a few more left wingers in the draft, though I still think they are going to focus on building up their centre prospect pool.

Strengths:

Stars fans might have realised that the Stars have now got a pretty good pool of defensive prospects. Especially with the recent influx of prospects acquired at the trade deadline.

Unlike a few short years ago the Stars have a pleather of promising defensemen in Jamie Oleksiak, Joe Morrow, Patrick Nemeth, Kevin Connauton, Cameron Gaunce, Jyrki Jokipakka, Ludwig Bystrom and John Klingberg. If even 2 or 3 of them reach the NHL it would be impressive.

The Stars might draft another defenseman or two due to picking using Best Player Available but otherwise I still expect the focus to be on forwards.

The Stars also have a decent depth in goal allowing Jack Campbell to mature in the AHL. With either one or both of Richard Bachman or Christopher Nilstorp possibly resigning the Stars don't need to think about the future of their goaltendering. Especially with some project goaltenders in other leagues developing: Maxime Legace and Henri Kiviaho. Though not signed to a Dallas contract also keep an eye on Josh Robinson, a goaltender who has performed well in Idaho and impressed. He might earn himself a contract, potentially moving up to the Texas Stars as backup if Tyler Beskorowany doesn't resign with the Stars.

I don't expect the Stars to draft another goaltender because of the organisational depth.

Summary

The Stars have done an excellent job building up a solid prospect pool and with so many picks in the next draft they potentially could help mould the farm system into one of the top ten systems in the league.

The Stars defensive core has gone from bare to being stacked, just look at the number of defensemen in Austin if you want evidence of that. They have developed a good group which could become regular NHLers but also as trade bait for any pre draft deals that could occur.

The Stars right wing group has become stacked with players with high potential, though with no certainty of reaching that potential. What they need are players who electrify and are highly skilled instead of forwards who are skilled and can become solid NHLers. Instead of the ‘safe' pick go for one which has a higher risk but with a higher potential gain. The player that could ‘wow' every time they step on the ice but also could bust on that top potential.

The Stars are well stocked with above average players but they need to try and find those prospects who can fit and become true first and second line players. The elusive bluechip prospect which is always incredibly difficult to find. The Stars need to get those bluechips if they really want to take this organisation forward.

With the recent addition of Jim Nill to the organisation as General Manager the Stars gain a talented development analyst and the person who called the shots on the Red Wings drafts and prospect development for over a decade. He will likely have his own analysis of the Stars prospect situation and could well decide that some shaking up is needed in order to address those weaknesses above.

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